Meet Jibo: The World's First Social Robot
Meet Jibo, the newest creation of famed MIT roboticist Cynthia Breazeal.
Designed as an interactive companion and helper for the home, Jibo is capable of engaging people on a much more intuitive level than any computer or mobile device ever has. It's state-of-the-art sensors allow it to learn about the people around it by recognizing different voices and faces.
"Robots are about the autonomy and the partnership and playing the role versus being a tool that I got to pick up and poke at," Breazeal explains. "So it's not just what it does, it's how it does it. And the new use cases that that enables."
Had you ever seen a robot groove to Simon & Garfunkel like that?
"Bridging the gap between robotics and home", Jibo is able to assist in a 'hands-off' way, responding to conditions around it in the household. At present, some of Jibo's most basic set functions or "roles" for now are as camera man, as an interactive story-teller for kids, as a video-chat avatar, and as a daily reminder. But according to Breazeal, these basic functions are just a starting point for Jibo. Jibo Inc. is planning both in-house software updates that will broaden the robot's programmed roles, and third party developments made possible by the company's JiboAlive SDK program.
Will Jibo become the first widespread household robot? At 11 inches tall, weighing only 6 pounds, Jibo is pretty irresistible. And he certainly remains well outside of the uncanny valley of humanoid robot creepiness. As Breazeal says herself, "Jibo doesn't replace people and human relationships; rather, it is designed to support, complement and extend what we need from others in an affordable, effective and delightful way so that we can succeed, thrive and grow."
We'll have to wait for it's release during the winter of 2015 to see just how popular this little guy will be. But, considering what he can do, he's actually pretty affordable with a launch price of $499.